View Full Version : Leg cramps - scoliosis related? (unsure where to post)

04-25-2010, 09:20 PM
Someone posted recently about terrible pain and her need for surgery, She listed among her symptoms, severe cramping.

I have had severe leg cramps especially at night for many years, and they're definitely gotten much, much worse in the last few years, especially in the last year. This coincides with my deformity worsening (down 4 " in at most 8 years).

(specs: lumbar cobb presently 60 degrees, compensating thoracic angle 30 - 40 deg and marked kyphosis. This is new, and seems to be moving down my spine (ie from thoracic to lumbar). No ones given me a number on it, but I have been told it's a function of rotation and will be managed by correcting the scoliosis. Hope so).

I've googled leg cramps like mad, especially lately as they have been waking me up and the pain is really bad. I live alone and frankly, sometimes I just scream! Walking and squatting - once I can get my feet flat on the floor - takes care of them for at least, a few hours. However, it's getting harder to be able to even straighten my feet so as to put them down flat and bear weight.

They occur especially on my outer calves and back of my thighs. The muscle becomes rock hard. During the day, I notice (when I look) painless twitching any and everywhere on the legs. For all I know, they occur elsewhere but I don't check.

I see leg cramps can be caused by many conditions but somehow I feel mine are associated with the scoliosis and severe spondilolithesis (vertebrae slip and slide all over the place!). I don't have a back doctor in my "medically under-served" area, but both my neurologist and family doctor just blow it off saying "could be anything" .

True, but I take electrolytes and fluid, and also stretch the legs a good bit (the main remedies). Nothing seems to make a difference. They are worse when I've been on my feet for many hours the previous day - say, running errands in big box stores (even though I lean on the shopping carts).

That comment really caught my eye! Does anyone else have this symptom and does it seem to wax and wane with the progression of their scoliosis? Does it decrease (disappear???) after successful correction?

It's really decreasing my quality of life, what's left of it. It's the main reason I need so much extra sleep (when I can get it) . Also when it occurs, it really hurts ( I'm not known for wimpyness).

04-25-2010, 11:05 PM
It sounds like you're describing a charley horse. Here's what Wikipedia say about them:

The term "charley horse" is also used to describe simple painful muscle cramps in the leg or foot, especially those that follow strenuous exercise. These muscle cramps can have many possible causes including hormonal imbalances, dehydration, low levels of potassium or calcium in the blood, side effects of medication, or, more seriously, diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and neuropathy.

04-27-2010, 12:44 AM
Yes, I know it sounds like that except that

a) the tried and true remedies don't prevent or relieve it except for the walking - once I can walk.
b) it's appeared and deteriorated in a linear fashion with my curves, over the last ten years.

Thanks for the link, though, as I saw the term "neuropathy" and looked it up. Hopefully, the miserable myelogram I'm set up to have, will help either rule that in or out. (I know it's miserable having just looked it up in conjunction with another thread). That will be one benefit. If so, God bless Dr. Neuwirth who ordered it! (Nb I've also had fasciculations and some of the other symptoms)

I would rather have a Charley horse but it's gotten to be a lot more horses than Charleys :p and I think I DO need a work up to rule out other possible causes. Another is kidney problems which can cause awful cramps. I know since my dad died of kidney failure. (Which is an extra good reason to check that out too).

04-27-2010, 12:51 AM
Almost forgot to renew my plea to others . Does anyone else have severe leg cramps, especially at night? After all, I only connected it seriously to my scoliosis after that other sufferer commented on her cramps' worsening so dramatically. That gave me the notion to ask if others here suffer from that.



04-27-2010, 05:18 AM
I did-- and (unfortunately!) still do. I will try to get back to you about this, but am out of time this morning and have a super busy week coming up*. I'll send you a PM and you can email me, ok? Although I'm not sure I can be much help. Just wanted to let you know I get leg cramps (calves and thighs; inside, outside, upside, downside... (as Dr. Seuss might put it) and occasionally the entire leg-- extremely painful!) Years ago they were just in the calves and sometimes my feet, but have progressed... or changed???

*Scoli friends-- just sharing-- but both darling grandsons are about to turn one. DD from NH is flying out for a visit today with hers, and the other little one and his M&D and other aunt and uncle are coming soon too. Hard to believe a year has almost gone by!

04-28-2010, 12:04 AM
Thank you for the helpful, strangely comforting feedback!
But I sure am sorry you have to endure them too.

WHAT an amazing correction you got, Suzie*Bee. Was your neck done or what? You look as straight as a West Pointer in the after shots. What a relief that must have been for your straining neck!

And what a CUTE little grandson. Nice to see something besides skeletons!

Catch you later...

06-13-2010, 09:56 PM
From today's NYTimes. No, this alternative therapy was not endorsed in a double blind, randomized study published in a peer-reviewed journal...But I'll try anything.


(Sobering to see how MANY pages back I had to go to find this thread. Much water over the dam. MUST get a move on!!!)

06-14-2010, 12:06 AM
Very interesting! I am plagued with crampy weak legs. It seems to follow the really bad pain "episodes" that I have. Mine is muscle pain combined with a weak, nervy feeling, very hard to describe. I don't think it is necessarily scoli related as my husband suffers from leg cramps and his back is as straight as an arrow. My father has some kind of degenerative disease, that looks to me like mild muscular dystrophy or ALS. Since he is 79 the docs don't even care to test him. He is at a point now where he is completely bedridden and can't even lift his arms or speak even though he is completely with it mentally. So very, very sad to see the medical profession just blow him off like that just because he is old! :mad: It started around my age with a shuffled kind of walk. It seems to me that he complained of his legs being "tired". My sister also has trouble with her legs and no scoli, but her daughter has scoli. There are so many disorders out there, who can keep up with them all?

06-14-2010, 09:34 PM
Just thought of one cause of leg cramps that affected my dad and a good friend of ours--cholesterol drugs especially the Z ones like Zocor I think it is. Both had horrible leg pains until they changed the drug and it was magical. I put off going on Lipitor for years because of it--figured I had enough aches and pains. Thankfully, Lipitor caused me no problems. Janet

06-15-2010, 07:09 AM
Just wanted to add that about 6 weeks ago I saw a neurologist about my migraines and mentioned my leg cramps. He told me to try 1/2 to 1 tablet of dizaepam at bedtime and see how that worked. I take 1/2 tab and haven't had a single cramp since. I was getting them in my thighs, shins, calves-- and multiple areas at once sometimes, so this is really a blessing. Yay!

06-16-2010, 06:37 PM
I am not sure if this even applies to you, but my left leg is always cramped. It is due to the sciatic nerve now being touched by a herniated disc. It is in cramped mode 24/7. Going thru' pain shot therapy in hopes to reduce swelling of sciatica. But, in this case, not only is there the cramping but numbing down to my foot. It may not be related to what you are experiencing.

06-17-2010, 12:07 AM
I used to get leg and foot cramps all the time at night. I went to various drs and none could help me. One day I was talking to a woman that used to have them. She said she began taking calcium/magnesium/zinc tablets(all 3 in one pill) along with vitamin d and it totally cured them. I tried it and sure enough mine are now completely gone! it's such a relief! Give it a try!!! By the way, they stopped before my surgery not because of my surgery.

06-17-2010, 05:51 PM

I can also personally attest to the calc-mag-zinc + vit D helping to prevent leg cramps.

I had never thought of scoliosis being linked to leg cramps, and I thank you for thinking of the possible correlation. My biggest problem is arm & hand numbness (almost a heavy feeling) on my right side where my thoracic curve is. Anyone else deal with this? I've always just figured it's nerve damage because my spinal cord is being pulled so far off track. Thoughts? Sorry if this should be a new thtead...never started one before.